I like to think I've gotten pretty good at my writing. When my wife went back to school, I proofread all her papers and her teachers always commented about how well written they were. I don't want to imply that she couldn't write well, but when something is proofread, you'll get a higher quality result and it will be received much better.
If you're not as good with your writing, there are tools to help improve your writing. I recently had a chance to try out one of them: Grammarly. It is a grammatical error correction tool. They offer a basic, free option as well as a more advanced premium version, adding support for things like a plagiarism check.
To use Grammarly, there are several different choices available. You can either install a plugin for your browser or visit their website. If you choose to work with the website, you can write your content in your favorite text editor, then copy and paste it into Grammarly, or write directly within Grammarly. Personally, I tend to write in my favorite text editor, versus having to learn the features of a different one.
Once you've entered content into Grammarly, you're provided with feedback on the quality of your writing based on something like 250 rule checks. This could be as simple as reporting on the use of passive voice, to the overuse of certain words, to unoriginal text if the plagiarism check is enabled. There are many other checks performed besides these three cases. The idea is to then scan through your document and improve its quality based upon this feedback. Not all feedback is worth addressing as some of it could be outright wrong. For instance, the tool suggested I change "prospective client base" to "client prospective base," which are two different things to me. When I wrote this, Google responded with three results of the phrase "client prospective base" while the original phrase had over 100,000 results, clearly a more appropriate and commonly used phrase.
Why use Grammarly when your Microsoft Word already includes a grammar checker? I personally don't bring up Microsoft Word to write my blog posts. It is overkill with too many options for what I need. The built in Blogger editor is sufficient for most of my needs. And, that's where the browser plugin comes in handy (at least for Firefox and Chrome). It will help you with anything you write online, including Facebook posts, emails, and forum posts even.
Is something like Grammarly right for you? If you're unsure, give the free version a try and see if you start writing better, or, at least, posting content that is of a higher quality. Someone with an editing background can probably do a better job if they sat down to a hard core find all the errors type session with an article. It is hard to proofread your own work and that is one thing that Grammarly is good at. After writing an article, before posting, just have Grammarly give it the once over and you'll get a better article out of it in the end, in most cases at least. After awhile, you stop making the same mistakes that Grammarly points out and your overall writing improves as a result. It is a useful tool for the right audience, but, you have to remember to review the suggested changes and not just accept them blindly. And, if no suggested changes are presented, that doesn't automatically mean the article is perfect. It just means the tool didn't find anything.
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